Heat, excitement and garland of apples on Mansoor Ali Khan’s campaign trail

Congress candidate Mansoor Ali Khan says his vision is to transform Bengaluru Central into a model constituency

Published - April 20, 2024 09:57 pm IST - Bengaluru

Congress candidate for Bengaluru Central Lok Sabha constituency Mansoor Ali Khan at a campaign rally in Bengaluru.

Congress candidate for Bengaluru Central Lok Sabha constituency Mansoor Ali Khan at a campaign rally in Bengaluru. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Mansoor Ali Khan

Mansoor Ali Khan | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The sun glares relentlessly, but it did not seem to dim the excitement of supporters of Bengaluru Central Congress candidate Mansoor Ali Khan, as he campaigned near J.C. Nagar police station in Jayamahal. Party workers streamed in as the convoy moved on, their spirits up in support of the lone Muslim Lok Sabha candidate from any major party in Karnataka.

Mr. Khan, contesting against the BJP’s three-term MP P.C. Mohan, was accompanied by Shivajinagar MLA Rizwan Arshad. At one point, Mr. Khan was offered a mammoth apple garland. As the garland was lowered, people surged forward like a swarm of bees, their arms stretched eagerly for the apples. With each grab and tug, the air filled with laughter and excitement.

A bonanza

Thirty-one-year-old Subhashini, a resident of Chinnappa Garden in Jayamahal, beamed with joy at her prized catch. She managed to grab quite a few apples in her saree pallu. She along with her neighbours Shanthamma and Parvathamma had joined the campaign group from the morning. “My children will be happy when I go home with these fruits,” she said.

Wearing T-shirts sporting Mr. Khan’s photo, Syed Afnan and Ajay Yadav are among the 12 employees of an AC servicing company accompanying the campaign procession. They said they were impressed with Mr. Khan’s vision for progress.

The Hindu caught up with Mr. Khan, who runs a chain of educational institutions, during his campaign. Exuding confidence of emerging victorious, Mr. Khan said he will strive to transform Bengaluru Central into a model constituency.

“This constituency has a significant minority electorate. Karnataka has sent only one Muslim MP to the Lok Sabha in the last 20 years and I am optimistic that the Congress’ guarantees and our government’s performance will work in our favour this time,” he said.

Priorities for region

“While the responsibilities of a MP are different from the local MLA and corporator, the common man expects us to resolve their basic problems first. The development of my constituency is a top priority for me. I think people can vouch for the lack of development here,” he said.

Although Bengaluru Central contributes around 25% of taxes to the Centre, the allocation of funds for infrastructure development here is not adequate, he said. “We will have to collectively fight to get what is rightfully due to us,” he said, asserting that he will strive for sustainable development of the constituency.

“As an educator, I want to create a movement inside and outside Parliament to get higher allocation of funds for education and health sectors,” Mr. Khan said.

Dismissing reports that his own party MLAs are not backing him whole-heartedly, Mr. Khan said; “Coping with the harsh summer during campaigning is getting difficult. Another challenge is to ensure that all citizens come out and vote on polling day.”

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